Off-campus living to rise in demand in fall 2016


Drew Howard

The number of Grand Valley State University students living off campus is expected to rise significantly in the fall of 2016, following the construction of five new housing units.

According to the fall 2015 housing and dining report, an estimated 6,700 students were housed in apartment complexes located off of the Allendale Campus during the fall of this school year. If construction of new off-campus housing units goes as planned, this number is expected to jump to 8,075 by August — an increase of 1,375 students.

These students will be housed within five new off-campus apartment complexes, including Evolve, Enclave, West Wind Apartments, Conifer Creek West and Pierce Place.

Additionally, Campus View Cottages is planning to build an extra 25 housing units.

Andy Beachnau, director of housing, said that though there is construction underway, not all new units are guaranteed to be built in time for next semester.

“If all of these beds are built, it will go from 6,700 to 8,075 students off-campus,” Beachnau said. “Not all of this is going to happen, but it could. This would mean a 17 percent increase in one year, which is a big deal. From a student lens, that’s a great thing.”

In fall 2015, 6,113 students were living on campus. The new Holton-Hooker Learning-Living Center on North Campus will accommodate 498 students.

Abigail Forbes, associate director of housing, said it’s estimated that at least 3,300 first-year residents will live on campus next year, and that sophomore and upper-level students have no reason to worry about being kicked off campus.

“We will have a similar number of sophomore, junior and senior residents planned for next year as we currently have on campus,” Forbes said. “The addition of the Holton-Hooker Learning-Living Center will help us meet the first-year student demand.”

Unlike off-campus housing, Beachnau said the total amount of students living on campus in the fall of 2016 is expected to stay fairly stable.

“Because the Ravine Apartments are coming down and the new housing is coming up, I didn’t change the number (of students) living on campus,” he said. “The biggest change has been off campus. On-campus will be the same, but off-campus will have more choices and more styles.”

With this increase in competition from outside apartment complexes, GVSU is making sure to keep costs as low as possible for students living on campus.

At a Board of Trustees meeting on Feb. 12, trustees approved an increase in GVSU housing and meal plan rates by 1.6 percent for the 2016-17 academic year. This increase equates to an average of $32 extra per semester for housing and an extra $50 per semester for primary meal plans.

Off-campus housing rates vary greatly depending on the apartment complex. As a general rule, Beachnau said students should expect to pay more for housing the closer it is to campus.

“The simple rule is, the closer you are to campus, the more the rent is,” he said. “So if you really want to save a lot of money, you live in Allegan or Muskegon and drive in. Proximity really drives the cost.”

For more information about housing at GVSU, visit